Good morning, morning! I am so excited! As much as I love winter and sparkly snow, it was great to see the sun last week!
It is also great to see the taps in the maple trees! Maple season means spring is soon, which means camping season is soon! I am so excited!
Freezing temperatures and probable snowstorms make it to early to un-winterize the camper. It is the perfect time to enjoy an occasional outside fire while making maple syrup though.
Last week, we were able to make 2 things while enjoying the outside fire, maple syrup and firestarters!
Some years we tap our 2 trees in March or late February, this year we had some warm, early February days, so we tapped on Feb 11th. Even though we only have 2 maple trees, I am so happy we can tap them and produce a nice amount of backyard maple syrup for our family.
So far this year, we have boiled sap twice, 18 gallons and 23 gallons, and we have produced 1 ¾ quarts and 2 ½ quarts of yummy maple syrup!
Not every sap boiling day is sunny, sometimes it is cloudy, cold and breezy when we need to boil.
Thankfully, with just 2 maple trees and 4 taps, we can try to wait, store sap and pick nice days to boil. Our second boiling day this year was beautiful!
The school bus was picking up kids when we started at 7:30 in the chilly morning. We stayed outside most of the day, boiling maple sap, so we were glad the weather was sunny and calm. Eventually the temperatures reached about 40 degrees.
While we were enjoying the weather and outside fire, we made something we needed for camping this year- firestarters!
Our firestarters are easy and fun to make. Since we make them in egg cartons, they are also easy to use and store.
I’ve been saving candle stubs, garage sale crayons and a few egg cartons.
Thankfully, we had all day to make firestarters-my overflowing shoe box of used wax produced 16 egg cartons of firestarters! Each egg spot will start one fire, so I have enough for 192 campfires! How fun!
I won’t need to save candle stubs or egg cartons for a long time!
Making the firestarters outside was fun! Instead of our usual pre-sap warmer (a stockpot on an outside metal end table set in front of the barrel cooker) we sat the wax pitcher on the table.
The leftover wax melted great in front of the barrel cooker, though we did get tired of picking the paper off of the old crayons.
Eventually, the whole crayon was plopped into the pitcher. Later, I dug the empty crayon papers from the melted wax before we poured it into the egg cartons.
We learned quickly to not pour the melted wax into the egg cartons over the patio. Hopefully the pink wax will scrape off.
After that, we moved the table and egg cartons to the grass for pouring.
It doesn’t take much saw dust or wax to make the firestarters, I can’t believe we made 16 egg cartons of them!
That is plenty to share some with friends and family for camping or for backyard bonfires!
While it is hard to wait for camping season and campfire cooking to use the firestarters, maple syrup season is sooo fun (and the french toast is sooo yummy)! Enjoying an outside fire while making our own maple syrup is great, it is even more fun when we can make 2 things while enjoying a sunny day!
Happy Camping (or enjoying an outside fire again!)
**If you are interested in a more in-depth maple syrup post, take a look at Backyard Maple Syrup Production for Beginners